‘Crazy’ to talk about shutting down domestic oil production, says Prime Minister

Boris Johnson was speaking at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen.

18 March 2022

The Prime Minister has said it would be “crazy” to shut down domestic oil and gas production in the face of rising gas prices.

International gas prices are set to soar in the coming months as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, experts have said.

Shutting down North Sea production, the Prime Minister told Scottish Tory members in Aberdeen, would mean buying hydrocarbons at a mark-up from the Russian regime.

Boris Johnson speaking
The Prime Minister was addressing the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Prime Minister accused both the SNP and Labour of supporting such a policy, although leaders of both parties have said they would favour a just transition away from oil and gas toward renewable energy, which would help to protect jobs in the north east of Scotland.

Although both have voiced their opposition to the Cambo oil field in the North Sea, which was paused in December.

Mr Johnson talked up the need to move away from oil and gas use, but added: “I also mean making sensible use of this country’s own natural hydrocarbon resources.

“Are we not crazy to be talking about completely shutting down domestic production only to buy oil and gas at a vast mark up from Vladimir Putin’s Russia?

“And yet that, unbelievably is the stated policy of the Scottish National Party and the Labour Party.”

The Prime Minister went on to say there would still be a “vital and important role” for oil and gas in the energy mix of the country.

“That’s why it makes sense for the government, our government, to continue to help that crucial industry in the north east of Scotland with a North Sea transition deal worth £16 billion,” he said.

If energy policy resulted in the end of oil and gas production, the Prime Minster said it would be a “disaster”.

“It would mean prices up even further, it would mean jobs lost just when households are feeling the pinch of the high gas and oil prices and of course it would mean exposing the UK to continued blackmail from Vladimir Putin,” he said.

“Together, our country, the UK, is leading the world in standing up to the hydrocarbon drug dealing of the Kremlin and together we’re going to wean ourselves off that addiction to Russian hydrocarbons and together we are a force for good in the world.”

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